Episcopal names new FieldTurf football field for Pajcic and Hunt

Episcopal names new FieldTurf football field for Pajcic and Hunt
The Pajcic family poses in from of the new Pajcic-Hunt Field sign after the dedication ceremony Oct. 23.

Episcopal School of Jacksonville named the school’s new FieldTurf field at McCormick Sports Complex after one of its longtime supporters and its assistant football coach during a dedication ceremony Oct. 23.

The field, which was newly installed over the summer, was named Pajcic-Hunt Field for the late Gary Pajcic, who sent his five children through the school, and longtime assistant football coach Charles Hunt, Sr., who also coaches track and field at the school.

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Charles Hunt

A large gift from the Pajcic family, and Pajcic’s five children – Curt, Curry, Ian, Seth, and Shaara Pajcic Swallow – made the dedication ceremony possible. The Pajcics’ gift is part of Episcopal’s 50th Anniversary capital campaign, Lead the Way, which is seeking to raise $18 million for school improvements.

Pajcic and Hunt both played football for Florida State University. Hunt later went on to play in the NFL and in other professional leagues before settling back in Jacksonville to coach at the school. Pajcic went on to law school at Florida State and later moved back to Jacksonville to form Pajcic & Pajcic, a successful Jacksonville law firm, with his brother, Steve. A well-known philanthropist, Gary  Pajcic had donated millions for important causes, including education.

Pajcic and Hunt developed a lifelong friendship, and Pajcic, who coached football at Episcopal in the 1980s, recruited Hunt to join him in coaching the Eagles. Hunt never left the school, continuing to coach football and track for more than 30 years.

“Today marks an exceptional celebration of friendship and two men’s dedication to the mission of Episcopal School of Jacksonville,” said Head of School Charles F. Zimmer. “We cannot fully express the depth of our gratitude for Coach Hunt’s long tenure here developing our student-athletes, or the Pajcic family’s longtime championing of the school. We are deeply thankful for all that both men have given our community over more than 30 years.”

Award-winning football star

Gary Pajcic

Gary Pajcic

As a football player at Paxon High school, Pajcic was believed to be the first athlete ever to win Player-of-the-Year honors in both football and basketball in Duval County. He was also Florida’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was ranked the top football player in the state in several publications.

Charlie Hunt gets a congratulatory hug from Episcopal Head of School Charlie Zimmer after the dedication ceremony for the renamed Pajcic-Hunt Field Oct. 23.

Pajcic was quarterback for the Seminoles, earning honorable mention All-America honors in his sophomore year after throwing for nearly 1600 yards and eight touchdowns. He was also part of one of the most famous plays in FSU history. Known as “The Catch,” Pajcic threw what should have been a game-winning touchdown pass to Lane Fenner in 1966 against The University of Florida. It was ruled out of bounds despite evidence showing otherwise and debate over the play continues to this day.

Along with practicing law, Pajcic found time to coach all his children at Episcopal High. From 1983-1993 he coached his four sons in football and later coached his daughter, who was on the golf team.

Pajcic died at the age of 58 of a sudden illness in 2006.

After playing at FSU in the 1970s, Hunt signed with the San Francisco 49ers. He later played for the Jacksonville Express in the World Football League and on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first team. After playing in Canada for a season, he finished his career with the Jacksonville Firebirds of the American Football Association.

Episcopal hired Hunt in 1981 as an assistant football coach. During more than 30 years of coaching football and track at the school, Hunt has shepherded more than 900 athletes. Under his tutelage several individual student-athletes have won state track titles. He also coached the 2007 girls’ track team to the state championship.

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